Bacalhau a bras

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There is no denying that the Portuguese have a love affair with salt cod, in fact they claim to have a different bacalhau recipe for every day of the year. Walk in to any supermarket and your nose will immediately alert you to the stacks of pungent dried fish; browse the cookery section of the magazine rack you will discover many inventive ways to transform the humble salt cod into delicious meals and snacks and the list just keeps on growing.

This is possibly the most popular and famous dish of all. You will find it on restaurant menus through out the country, in the freezer section of the supermarkets and on many household dinner tables any day of the week.

Serves 4


450 g dried salt cod or 675 g ready soaked
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 kg potatoes, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
sunflower oil for shallow frying
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
8 large eggs
salt and black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley,
black olives for garnish
chopped parsley for garnish


Rinse the dry salt cod and place it in a bowl with enough cold water to cover. Leave overnight, changing the water several times. Drain when ready to use.

Place the fish in a large saucepan. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer until the fish flakes easily, about 15 minutes. Drain and cool. Flake the fish, discarding any bones.

Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan and fry the potatoes in batches until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside. Discard any remaining oil and wipe the pan.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil to the same frying pan over a moderate heat and sauté the onion and bay leaf until golden. Discard the bay leaf and reduce the heat to low. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan then tip in the fish and potatoes.

Lightly beat the eggs with the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the eggs to the pan and gently mix everything together.

Cook over a medium heat for about 5 -7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the eggs are set. Transfer the mixture to a warmed serving dish. Garnish with the olives and parsley and serve immediately.

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